By Roberta L. Feliciano
The ABS-CBN Foundation is a gift of love to our Filipino brothers and sisters that need it most. It is also a love so big and deep, spearheaded by many from our beloved Assumption Alumnae.
Gina Lopez, class ’71, carved a space where many ills in our country⎯ills no longer seen as they remained unchanged⎯would be addressed. This was her way of championing the voiceless and unseen. Gina’s unrelenting drive to rid our country of poverty was her secret wish and goal till the end.
Jen Deomano Santos, a Marie Eugenie awardee from 1995, still at the Foundation, gives all that she can muster for the hundreds of communities she has engaged with. She is a one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about the Foundation because embracing all that knowledge is simply an extension of her love for the work she does.
I am from the class of ’79, and inherited Gina’s world almost 3 years ago now. Just like motherhood, nothing prepared me for the job. Yet I find that I am where I need to be. I am in a privileged position to help others while I nurture a desire to do so. And this desire to help, to do good that feels as ancient as the desire to survive, I can only attribute to the many years of formation at the Assumption College.
Why do we do we do the work we do at the Foundation? Why do we even try, when life could be so much simpler by just burying ourselves in our own little worlds while letting everything else just float by.
When you make a commitment to do good, you do so because to do otherwise would be like turning off the light or taking the shine and brightness away from the world. The light we shine just by believing and sharing a common goal to uplift lives, to nation build – is a light when coupled with other similar lights – it can only transform the landscape of our country.
Many of those we worked with are beyond poor, living on a dwindling supply of hope. Yet these same people are rich beyond compare; they are rich in God’s bounty of forest, of lakes, of the sea. But they want more, they want better for their children.
A group of such people lived in an area renamed by the former Governor Mic Petilla as the Leyte Peace Corridor. Many in the area lived outside of society, yet decided to take a chance and work with the Foundation. The stories of these people whose lives have been transformed, pulled back from the brink of giving up – these are stories common to the rest of our country. Yet every time, we worked with a group we shared common values and objectives with, there was magic. Things fell into place, trust took root, and we all dreamt big – way beyond what was ever imagined.
The Leyte Peace Corridor along with Samar, is home to these little treasures tucked by the wayside of the beautiful roads that have made commerce and so many other connections possible. To see what has been created by hand as they moved earth and made paths, made visitor centers, created places where a particular interpretation of food could be shared – these and more are a testament to what happens when you believe in each other, and help each other.
I hope that one day, you all will be proud owners of our Community Passport that is stamped each time you visit a site. I hope you witness not only the natural beauty of each site but have the rare opportunity to spend time with these unknown heroes of our country. Traveling may never be the same after your first stamp. You will crave to find the same kind of human connections because everything else falls into the realm of social media.
We can all do our part in loving this country we call home. It need not be monumental. It needs only to be a journey of the heart.
Roberta L Feliciano
Mother Ignacia Ave, Quezon City
Mobile: +63 918 910 6012